Xi stresses importance of China-US military ties

By Shan Jie Source:Global Times Published: 2017/8/18 0:18:39

Military action not an option in N.Korea, says Chinese general

Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) meets with visiting Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, August 17, 2017. (Xinhua/Li Xueren)

Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Thursday that the military relationship between China and the US should be a significant part of Sino-US relations, and that cooperation between the armies could play a positive role in developing bilateral ties.

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remarks in a meeting with visiting Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

"You are the first US senior military official to visit China since President Donald Trump took office," Xi told Dunford.

Xi said although the visit was brief, it was quite comprehensive, indicating that military-to-military relations between China and the US have substantially moved forward, Xinhua reported.

According to Xinhua, Xi said that the Chinese and US armies have upgraded the communications on different levels, promoted the building of military trust and deepened the practical cooperation.

"The military relationship has always been the significant and unique dimension in Sino-US relations," Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations of China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Since the strategic distrust between the two countries usually involves the military, strengthening military trust could lead to the relations' long-term stability, Li noted.

During Dunford's visit to China, the two sides signed a framework document on a communication mechanism between the joint staff departments, a move Li said could further heighten cooperation and trust between the Chinese and US militaries.

"Next, the goal would be to overcome the distrust between the two armies and avoid misunderstandings in some areas, in order to avoid it damaging overall Sino-US relations," Li said.

He also noted that building and upgrading military trust would be gradual.

Fan Changlong, vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission, also met with Dunford in Beijing on Thursday.

In recent years, relations between the two militaries have seen a healthy development, with friendly exchanges between top officers and various other communication mechanisms operating smoothly at all levels, Fan said.

However, the US' "wrongful actions" such as meddling in Taiwan, establishing the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense around China, spying in Chinese sea and air territory, and constant activities by US planes and ships in the South China Sea have had a negative effect on mutual trust and military-to-military ties, Fan noted.

Remain restrained

Fan and Dunford also discussed the Korean Peninsula crisis.

Fan said that related parties should remain restrained, and avoid actions or words that could intensify the situation. He said "military action cannot be an option."

Dunford said Thursday that a military solution to the missile threat from North Korea would be "horrific," but allowing the country to develop the capability to launch a nuclear attack on the US is "unimaginable," USA Today reported.

"Dunford's visit to China and China's restating of its stance to peacefully solve the Korean Peninsula issue shows that, at least in China's view, the current situation might get out of control," Zheng Jiyong, director of the Center for Korean Studies at Fudan University, told the Global Times on Thursday.

"From China's point of view, the US and North Korea are reaching for the red line and could spark a military conflict," Zheng noted.

Zheng said that the US is pushing China to take more actions by implying use of military action against North Korea.

"Of course, China will try to avoid a military conflict and friction with the US over North Korea," Zheng said, "but tensions on the Korean Peninsula were created by the US, which should take responsibility."

"The US should take a step back to lower the possibility of a military conflict," he said.


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